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The Week Ahead


Business Week Index

THE WEEK AHEAD

FEDERAL BUDGET

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2 p.m.EDT -- The Treasury Dept. is likely to post a $30

billion surplus for September, when quarterly income-tax payments are made.

That's the median forecast of economists surveyed by MMS International, one of

The McGraw-Hill Companies. The surplus is much larger than last September's

$7.2 billion windfall. But that's because Sept. 1, 1996, fell on a Sunday, so

many of this September's transfer payments were made in August. The expected

surplus would mean that the government deficit totaled $114 billion for the

entire 1996 fiscal year, ended on Sept. 30. That would be the smallest red-ink

total since 1981.

INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS

Thursday, Oct. 24, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- New filings for state unemployment benefits

likely jumped to about 335,000 for the week ended on Oct. 19. Filings had

fallen to 319,000 in the first week of October, the lowest rate since late July

and August. But the General Motors Corp. strike in Canada has spilled over to

GM's U.S. operations, causing the idling of about 10,000 workers in Michigan

and New York. Once the strike is over, claims should head lower.

DURABLE GOODS ORDERS

Friday, Oct. 25, 8:30 a.m.EDT -- The MMS survey projects that new orders for

durable goods increased 1.5% in September, recouping about half of a 3.2% fall

in bookings in August. The backlog of unfilled orders likely increased in

September, after slipping 0.3% in August.

EXISTING HOME SALES

Friday, Oct. 25, 10 a.m.EDT -- Sales of existing homes probably dipped again in

September. The median MMS forecast expects that resales fell to an annual rate

of 4.1 million, from 4.3 million in August. If so, existing home sales will

have fallen for four consecutive months. However, they still remain above

year-ago levels. And the recent drop in long-term mortgage rates may spur new

demand in the fourth quarter--or at least hold sales steady.


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